So, unless you truly live under a rock or exist totally off the grid then I am more than sure that you’ve been receiving a tsunami level of information about COVID-19 for quite some time now. For months we humans have been witnessing it quickly take over and shut down the normal functioning of the world. Obviously, this is a very unnerving time in our history, and it is of the utmost importance to stay informed.
The New News about the News
Trying to follow the information stream that is responsible for (mis-) informing us is maddening. Nowadays, the “standard” form of news is limitless. “News” comes at us from so many different places, such as online news sources, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, local televised or print news and national teleconferences or addresses. The variety of news sources can be beneficial by providing multiple perspectives and accounting for all information available. Yet, when the news is actively contradicting the scientific data and/or other previously published articles trying to be an informed citizen becomes very difficult. How are we supposed to make sense of officials and reporters giving the population a mixed bag of information?
Unfortunately, in the weeks leading up to the United States becoming the leader in confirmed cases, there has been a broad spectrum of information. Depending on your personal biases, you may have had a very misinformed belief on the severity of the impending pandemic. You may still have a misinformed position on the necessary precautions needed to be followed by the individual and the country. This is not your fault, but the failings of the system to provide for you properly. You can take action to help yourself, protect other citizens and the ones you care about. The most important step you can take at this very moment is to seek out the advice of leading medical professionals that have the authority to announce information. Do not seek out or listen to politicians, corporations, Facebook posts or the word of individuals in general. The CDC has the unbiased information posted in their online resources that is freely available. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease who is a part of the United States’ Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Anthony Fauci is a credible source who has been actively appearing on television and YouTube to spread factual information regarding the virus. There are also many online publications that are good sources for keeping up with the response around the world or new developments in the United States like Newtrals.com. Figure out what you should do to stay safe for the duration of the virus and then stay informed with a discerning ear for misinformation. Try to form your own opinions before the news anchor, politician, or writer tells you what they think about what’s happening, then decide if what they say is something insightful.
How Have We Responded?
The variation in the response between different countries has been drastic. Most countries have been implementing drastic measures to combat the spread. There have been national quarantines in every continent – except Antarctica – even in countries that did not yet have confirmed cases. Enforcement of the quarantines have been an issue for many countries. To keep everyone safe and at home there have been countries that impose fines or penalty of physical punishment (exercise, humiliation, even physical striking) for leaving the home. Famously on social media, Italian officials have talked harshly to their misbehaviors, making fun of them or threatening them with an exaggerated police response to large gatherings. Even still, some countries have taken little action and/or have been broadcasting false information to their public. In one country, their chosen leader has stated that the virus can be overcome as simply as a sauna and vodka treatment a few times per week. In another country, their leader has claimed things from the virus is a hoax to make him appear weak to whether the virus is a virus. Later, he claimed that he personally knew it was going to be a pandemic far before medical professionals knew it was a pandemic. Meanwhile, there has not been a mandatory quarantine in that country, even now as it has climbed to the top of total infections. If in other countries, they’ve started to see results from their precautions, doesn’t that prove that the precautions are effective and necessary? What does this say about the trajectory of places that have not implemented precautions?
As of today, the world over has been exposed to the virus. It has made its way into most countries, most cities around the world. Yet, not everyone has been exposed to the virus. Currently, the only way to slow down its progression is to take serious precautions as a species. As an individual, there is a moral requirement to stay informed and actively avoid spreading the disease and misinformation to yourself and others. In the future, the likelihood of events or outbreaks like these increases. Hopefully, the lessons we learn from this great tragedy can prepare us as individuals and as a species for the trials of tomorrow.